But who are you going to shoot at?

As I've mentioned before, I'm pretty much a wimpy blue stater who favors gun rights. Not that I'm likely to own a gun myself, though my teenage son learned to shoot at summer camp and likes to go to the shooting range. Believe me, that's a real Cambridge conversation starter. But the recent Michigan militia arrests have led me to consider how useful guns actually are.

I believe they are a constitutional right, but I have trouble regarding guns as some kind of a means of preserving political freedom.  Say you oppose the recent healthcare reform bill. Great.  I happen to be a wimpy blue stater with a free-market bias, so I might even agree with your position.

Say you even think the whole thing was an incredible abuse of government power, a creeping coup, an example of what elected representatives do when they start to ignore poll numbers--something you used to encourage them to do, by the way.

Anyway, the government is illegitimate, and its actions illegal. Fortunately, you have guns.

OK, great. Who are you going to shoot at? And if you just threaten someone, who do you threaten and what do you want them to do?

Politically motivated people with guns in our society are like drivers caught in traffic. They have immense theoretical power, but that power is chained by circumstance. It doesn't matter how much horsepower you have, or how big your vehicle is.  You're stuck, watching the traffic light creep a little bit closer with every passing minute....

You just hate that damn traffic! That's the problem you want to get rid of. But no matter how many other cars you smash into, it doesn't seem to go away.

So, while in movies, a tattered but proud resistance with comfortable facilities in a remote area holds off an oppressive government whose sexually perverse agents obligingly wear ominous black whipcord uniforms so you can pick them out, here we sit instead, listening to those nattering idiots on drive time radio, wishing we could just shoot someone, anyone.

It's enough to make you turn to fiction.